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War between Ottichilo and County Secretary ropes in activist

Vihiga County government has been thrown into focus following confession of missing confidential files at the County Secretary’s office.

County Secretary, Mr. Francis Ominde made the confession on Tuesday during a press briefing in his office which was attended by the newly appointed Information Executive Director, Mr. Joseph Simekha.

There has been a frosty working relationship between the County Secretary and his boss, Governor Wilber Ottichilo since 2017.

Simekha took over from former UN Special Rapporteur, Mr. Maina Kiai.

The governor has on several occasions accused county secretary of misconduct with the latter defending himself.

Ominde used the Thursday briefing to defend himself and publicly shared what he described as difficult working environment under Ottichilo’s administration.

Ottichilo has twice suspended Ominde from office over what sources at the governor’s office claimed as gross misconduct and incompetence.

However, Ominde who was recently reinstated in office through a court order issued by a Kisumu labour court, absolved himself from any wrongdoing and instead blamed his woes on individuals close to the governor.

“The first time I was suspended from office, individuals close to the governor exploited my absence and removed some confidential files out of my office,” claimed Ominde, adding the said files had been requested by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).

Among the issues raised by Ominde, included County Public Service Board’s (CPBS) irregular employment and promotion of staff, irregular payment of salaries and wages to ghost workers and involvement in graft by officers at the County government.

“These are some of the concerns which led to my procedural dismissal from office, twice by the county boss,” reported Ominde who vowed to stick to the law.

Ominde claimed the County government’s wage bill remained high even after the laying off of excess staff.

“The payroll still runs with the same names of former and sacked employees,” he boldly alleged saying the operatives in the county government were out to confiscate and hide damning files on the same.

Speaking at the same venue, Simekha claimed to have adequate information and evidence touching on maladministration and high level graft within Ottichilo’s government.

“We are soon going to publicly expose how the governor and his cronies are plundering public resources for selfish ends,” stated Simekha who claimed to have insiders within the government.

The activist alleged the governor was frustrating public servants who were not interested in helping him divert public resources into private use.

“Thus, the current situation the county secretary has found himself in,” he added. The activist vowed not to relent on his effort to fight against maladministration and corruption in the county.

There was temporary ugly drama outside the governor’s building when security officers attempted to forcefully eject a defiant Simekha outside the compound.

By Maurice Aluda

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